Thirty seven

I've been sitting here for five minutes debating how to write this. It's so easy to slap up a few pretty pictures, say happy birthday to me and call it a day. It's harder to talk about what's going on under the surface. Especially when it's a relatively shallow issue, and I know opinions range from "ohmygod she's whining about her weight again why doesn't she just do something" to "ohmygod, she's not even fat she's so vain and ungrateful and needs to get over herself." 

But I hate the false perfection that sometimes comes across online, even unknowingly. While the entire internet may not necessarily be entitled to (or interested in) the details of my inner dialogue, if I'm being real I'd say this was the first year my birthday made me feel old. Not because I was turning 37. Because having (now) 30 pounds to lose at this age made me feel like I missed my window. I'm not sure what that even means, or how my life would (or wouldn't) change if I was thin again. But I think more than the collection of years, that "missing your window" feeling is what makes anyone feel old. Whether you want to get your degree, drink wine in Tuscany, or play in a sprinkler; it sucks to consider the loss of "I might never ____________."

For me, maybe it's being destined to wear an ass curtain on my bathing suit forever. It's superficial. It's embarrassing. People have real problems like divorce and cancer. Even in my life, this is the least of my worries. And maybe that's why I focus on it so much. It's a problem where the solution is still up to me vs. the real ones that are beyond my control.

I wasn't as much down about it as I was removed from the idea of celebrating. Until a conversation with Shelly a few days before when she said, "It's your birthday we are celebrating and that's that". She is sweet and bossy and knows how to snap you out of too much navel-gazing.

So I sent out a last minute invite for dinner to my favorite sushi place. My lovely friends showed up, some whom I hadn't seen in a really long time. I wish I'd gotten a photo of everyone because they made me feel grateful and happy, and reminded that there are much worse things in life than ass curtains. 

Like BREAKING YOUR JAW. My friend Neva (pictured in the left below) just went through that when she was running a few weeks ago. The doctors told her if she'd landed on her nose or head or neck she might not be here. Talk about perspective. And, talk about how running (and I'm pretty sure all forms of exercise) is really bad for your health.

Love each one of you who made my last minute birthday a fun night. 

If you're in San Antonio, you need to try Kumori. I think it's the best / most affordable sushi in the city, (coming from someone who has been to maybe three places). Still, you should go if just for the desserts. I think they made this one to help me celebrate that I'm now old enough to get a mammogram. 


Since my birthday always falls on Labor day weekend, we thought it would be fun to "get away". So we booked a faux-cation to the Marriott. It's ten minutes away and we only stayed overnight, so it was awesome and easy. Okay, maybe there was one moment when I didn't think I or my ass curtain were going to make it to the pool. I may have pathetically texted two friends from the hotel bed while my family was swimming until I realized I was being a ridiculous example for my daughters. 

Leave it to kids to remind you what matters. 

It was so crowded on Sunday that we decided to rent a cabana the next day. Turned out to be unnecessary because everyone (who didn't live ten minutes away) was leaving. I'm glad we didn't know that before hand, because it was so worth it not having to solve any problems all day. They even brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the kids. I mean y'all, not having to feed my children is how I define a vacation... ten minutes away or not.

I even went to the spa, which had an interesting tradition called Los Siete Nudos (The Seven Knots). Each knot was supposed to symbolize a worry that you leave behind. I tend to keep my worries close (in my purse or pocket, or possibly tattooed onto myself). But the sentiment is nice, isn't it? 

Party animals that we are, the most glorious moment of the weekend was discovering that we could download Mad Men and watch it on the computer. I know I'm late to this train, but I've become so obsessed with this series. It's entertaining, but beyond that it's making me miss my Grandma, and wish more than ever that I could ask her all the questions I never knew to ask when she was alive. Like how much did y'all really drink at work? And did you really nap on your office couch? ... I might need to write a separate post about it.

For now, that's it. I'm officially 37. I'm good with it. And I'm making peace with my ass curtain. 



Photo by Kelly Guenther/The New York Times/Redux, found via Photojojo

Life put together a powerful collection of images taken by photographers who were there on 9/11. It's striking how, even amidst such a great national tragedy, what moves us most are individual stories. What people went through, and how they felt. My heart still breaks for the families who are permanently impacted. 

Today, I (along with so many) am remembering the heroes, the loss, and feeling especially grateful for each fragile moment. 



We started the day with balloons, as it's become tradition. He didn't want a party. He didn't even want us to bring the cake to the restaurant because he was afraid they'd sing to him. Instead of gifts, he just wanted us to take him shopping so he could pick out his own Star Wars stuff.

My low-key eleven year old. I not complaining. 


Last bit of summer.

We squeezed in one more beach trip before school started. 

These pictures make it look like all we did was eat. These pictures are probably pretty accurate. 

Karen made these from scratch. With actual flour and sugar. She is an overachiever, and we love her for it. 

Laura showed us how to make shooters out of salad.

 And taught me that I actually like grits. Cheese is key. 

I no longer believe in just one pie crust. 

But I swear we did more than eat. 

We learned that Karen does not mess around with her rum punch. Yes, that is a special tool for grinding nutmeg. I know, overachiever.

Between food comas, we did manage to make it out to the beach.  

Rachel and her fam also came down one day, and as usual I didn't take enough pictures. Marcus got stung by a stingray. The boys joked about taking turns peeing on him. The kids got along amazingly well, despite the fact that that by the end they were pretty sleep deprived. And we got home literally hours before the kids started their first day of school. It was a nice way to end the summer.


Blogher 2011

Last week I went to San Diego for Blogher. I spent my time being overwhelmed by it last year, which translated into avoiding it altogether. It's probably not accurate to even say I was there, because most of my time was spent shooting Karen and Rachel for Epiphanie, and being a tourist on crack with Lauren. 

So this year, rather than feel submerged by everything I wasn't doing, and every person I wasn't meeting, I set my intention to just focus on the moment. If I could connect with a handful of people in a few great conversations, it would be a success. I'm valuing quality over quantity these days. So even though the size of the conference was the same (maybe bigger), I felt at ease.

Well, mostly.

There were also moments where I felt like I was hovering outside my body. But it wasn't because of the frenetic pace of Blogher. It was because I'd made the decision to detour into San Francisco beforehand to see friends. While it was fun, both trips together ended up feeling like too much time away. I was secretly homesick and kind of sad about it throughout the conference. Which is lame because there were so many people I wanted to spend time with, without feeling mentally torn about being there. Jason kept telling me that the kids were fine and to have fun. And I did, despite the tug-of-war that is mommy guilt. And despite how angsty this is beginning to sound.

First of all, it was 70 degrees, compared to the 105 Degree Beat Down that is Our Texas Summer. I would be lying if I told you I didn't google CA house prices at least once while I was there. Right up until I remembered how expensive 70 degrees is. Dude, it's like $5 per inhale, more on weekends.

Epiphanie was one of the sponsors at the Clever Girls party, which took place on the roof top terrace of Hotel Solamar. Lauren flew in for a day to help, which was fun because I don't get to see her much since she moved to Houston. 

Lauren has also never taken a bad picture in her life. Beeyatch.

Fun times were had at the party, and all I have is this craptastic iphone photo to show for it. 

Here Lauren and I are, with Amy and Angie from I Heart Faces. Those girls are so much fun, and they also never stop. If you're ever interested in taking a photo workshop, I highly recommend them!

Ready for more crappy iphone pictures? This is one of my good friend Karen who just went to Kenya with One. We gathered in the hotel bar to watch their segment on ABC news. So inspired by all they are doing.

While we're talking about amazing people, I roomed with Kristen (on the left). She is one of my favorite writers on the internet. If you don't believe me, just read her Bachelorette recap on Mamapop. It will make you laugh out loud. I felt lucky be rooming with her because she's one of those relaxing people that you instantly feel like you've known forever. I'm just a little afraid that my homesick out-of-body self might have inadvertently taken advantage of her ten years of being a therapist really-good-at-listening self. I swear next time I will let you sleep Kristen. 

On the right is Alli The Great.

Remember when we did her shoot only so I could come home and change the entire design of the bag that she was modeling? We decided to do the re-shoot while we were both in the same place. She might be my all time favorite person to photograph, if only for the fact that this is how she warms up.

And she loves Sally O'Malley as much as I do. Winning!

I mean, please. 

Keep an eye on this lady. She is changing the world for the better, and I am not even kidding.

And that's all the pictures I took, which doesn't come close to highlighting all the great moments. But that's okay. Sometimes that's a sign that you were actually in each one of them.